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Jeanina

Name Change

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I got married in Turkey 4 years ago and - since I was in a hurry and didn't do my homework properly - was sort of put on the spot regarding the surname issue and had to accept them adding my husband's name to my name on paperwork. Didn't want to make a big fuss about it then, thinking that after obtaining my Turkish citizenship, I would be able to go to court and get (just!) my name back. Well... I've just obtained the citizenship but on my nüfüs cuzdanı, they would only list my husband's last name (without mine). Spoke to a lawyer yesterday and she said there's no way in Turkey for me to just have my own surname without my husband's. Needless to say how silly that is.... considering that most countries don't enforce such nonsense on women.

 

Anyway.... my question is: if I get divorced here, and later on remarry the same person in a country whose laws allow me to keep my maiden name, would the Turkish authorities impose my husband's surname on me again, when registering that marriage in Turkey? Or would the laws of the other country prevail (ones which allow me to keep my own name)?

 

Thanks a million!!

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Dear Jeanina,

 

Firstly, I would like to answer your question regarding whether you would be able to keep your own surname even if you get married in another country. The answer is unfortunately, no. 

 

Turkish law prevails over the other country law, as you would be willing to register your marriage before Turkish authorities. 

 

But there is an interesting precedent case has been brought before the Turkish Supreme Court by 2005. A Turkish lady and a German man got married in Germany. According to the German law, couples are entitled to use woman's surname as family surname, in other words, German man stops using his own surname and uses woman's surname. Then, Turkish woman applied to Turkish Consulate in Germany in order to have her marriage registered in Turkey. But the Turkish authorities still insist on issuing her husband's surname (a German surname called "Bohnes") as her official surname, on the ground of the rule which sets out that "woman gets her husband's surname". However, to the contrary, husband's surname has also been changed as Turkish woman's surname (which is "Gönenli"). Thus, as a result of that, Supreme Court at its final ruling, upheld the woman's claim and allows her to use her own surname at her Turkish ID.

 

You probably know that, but still it's good to remind that one more time, women is allowed to use her own surname along with her husband's surname. For instance, supposing a couple with names of "Marry Brown" and "Ali Kara" get married. Marry would be legally entitled to keep her name as "Marry Brown Kara". Two surnames at the same time.

 

Good luck,

 

Best Regards,  

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Dear Eglegal,

 

Thank you for taking the time to reply...

 

Unfortunately, we've still got a long way to go until (if ever!) Article 187 would be changed. For me, at this stage, I am affraid that the only way to keep my own name is to divorce.

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Dear Jeanina,

 

I do not really know if there is any other reason behind it of having your own surname in your ID, but you may prefer any other jurisdiction such as Germany which allows women to use their own surname, as the way it happened at the precedent i referred above. 

 

Best, 

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I found this article which basically says women have the right to use their surname alone in Turkey (due to a supreme court case that sets precedent), but you need to file a suit. The registry office needs to follow the the law pertaining to surnames which hasn't been changed, so can only accept a women using her husband's surname or her maiden name followed by her husband's surname.Here's the article: http://www.turkeylawconsulting.com/corporate-individuals-law/married-women-in-turkey-may-use-their-maiden-name-without-husbands-surname-hereinafter/

On a side note, I had a professor in Turkey that got married. She attached her husbands first name onto her maiden name and filled out important or legal documents in that way, but in her personal and professional life she continued using her maiden name alone. 

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Dear Canpak, 

Thanks a lot for taking the time to share this! After starting this thread, there was that case from Ankara that finally broke the chain. Article 187 hasn't been changed yet - who knows if it ever will be - so women still depend on individual judges to take back their right to their own name. It's still an improvement... at least there's a precedent now.

Regarding your professor in Turkey, my issue IS with the official documents, cause my name is so long that it doesn't fit in most forms. I also have issues when I fly to some countries which require APIS (like the US).

Anyway, I will try my luck in court when I can save the sum needed for a lawyer.

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